Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Some news from those far-off countries

Oh for the days, I hear some of my readers sigh, when the countries of eastern and central Europe were so far off that we knew nothing about them and cared even less except when they turned up in some thriller. Alas, no longer so. We may still know very little about them but they now matter and not just to writers of thrillers but to all of us because the money they receive from the EU is our money (and other countries') and because, more importantly, their leaders are members of our real government. Let us never forget that.

Last week we found out that the rather dubiously appointed Czech government has resigned after a vote of no confidence. On top of that, the Czech Republic may well lose some of the EU funding it is getting or supposed to be getting at the moment.
The Czech Republic could lose up to 968 million euros in EU regional aid and agricultural subsidies this year if it does not correctly administer and accelerate projects, the country's development ministry said on Thursday. Payments for nine out of twenty six spending departments could be lost due to maladministration.
Hungary is in an even worse position over that as EurActiv reports:
European Union funding to Hungary has been temporarily suspended over failings in the country's financial control systems, but there was no evidence of fraud, a European Commission official said yesterday (14 August).

On Monday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s office said the EU had suspended 13 of 15 programmes funded with EU money, including projects such as road building and social cohesion programmes.

A Commission official said the funds had been frozen because of deficiencies in Hungary's financial management and control systems for the programmes in question, identified in an EU audit in 2012.
And the newly joined Croatia is already feeling the EU's ire:
The EU commission may suspend part of Croatia's EU funds if the new member state continues to protect one of its retired spies, Josip Perkovic, from extradition to Germany where he is wanted for murder, justice commissioner Viviane Reding told Danas news. Reding expects answers from Croatia by 23 August.
Given that joining the EU has not exactly sorted out the various political problems East European countries face and the funds they had been promised keep being suspended, what exactly have they gained by it?


  1. My guess is that enough money is finding its way from Brussels to the capitals of the various eastern and southern countries, where the funds are siphoned off into the pockets of the leading politicians and their closest relatives, for those lucky people to feel it has been all worthwhile.

    BTW link to Josip Perković. As close to an interesting spy story as we come these days.


  2. I wonder what is happening in Ruritania these days.
    Does it receive EU funding - even if only as a friendly neighbouring state?

    It could be a very useful heading in the accounts (I won't say fiction) for balancing the EU's books

  3. "......social cohesion programmes."

    What the bloody hell is that ? Sounds very Orwellian to me.

  4. EU money? EU doesn't have any money - it's our money + money from EU net contributors...Writing from the Czech Rep which is covered in EU stars which have to be displayed for a completed project. Children's play areas and cycle tracks are in at the moment and so is funding for golf courses...Writing from the Euroregion Glacensis which supports cooperation across the borders with Poland...so I've just found out that now there is a 'European city' Kudowa-Nachod...Kudowa is in Poland and Nachod is in the CR...funding received for a project get to know Kudowa-Nachod...other latest funded projects are here

    some titles - winning together, 10 years of Czech Polish cooperation, Get to know the European City Kudowa-Nachon got over 23 000 euros...
    With the EU for all eternity!